GFMA Member Market Feature | Mulberry Market
1. How long have you been a market manager? I've been a market manager for three years.
2. What's your connection to AG? My parents had a giant garden while I was growing up and we ate out of it year round, in addition to feeding many of our neighbors.
3. What makes your market unique? I think our market is unique in our location and how varied our shopper base is. We set up in one of the oldest parks in the United States that has recently been refurbished to the jewel it once was in the early 1900s. It's breathtaking and absolutely a community endeavor. Our shoppers are quite diverse, from very low-income to upper class, and everything in between. We sit next to Mercer University and are fortunate to have the full support of students and faculty as well!
4. Give me an idea of what a typical market day looks like. What vendors are there and what type of products can shoppers find? A typical day begins with our food truck prepping while the vendors start arriving. The park is usually full of students from not only the University but the elementary school across the street. Everyone gets excited to see the Veggie Van arrive. We share the parking lot with the tennis center and so parents dropping kids off get a sneak peak of what will be available that day. Each week we have (of course) multiple produce vendors, breads, dairy, eggs, lamb, beef, chicken, pork, and seafood, honey, goat's milk soap, and a wonderful gentleman who sells a collection of jams, jellies, nut butters, and hot sauces from around Georgia, in addition to food producing plants, potted herbs, and a wide array of loose teas.
5. What's the one idea you try to convey to people who've never shopped at a farmer's market? I would like people to know that a farmer's market is for everyone. We work very hard to make sure the Mulberry Market is inclusive, and every single person is welcome, regardless of socioeconomic status. The more the merrier!
6. Why do you think local markets are important? Local markets are important for a number of reasons: they keep the dollars in pockets of local farmers, who in turn spent their money locally. Markets offering local products create a sense of place and community for everyone. I think our market levels the playing field and makes everyone feel equal, and allows people who might never interact to form relationships and friendships. Food connects people on a level that nothing else can, and it is pretty magical.
7. How is GFMA assisting you and your market in connecting people to food? The GFMA is creating a valuable toolkit that will allow new market managers, or even seasoned managers starting new markets, to find many resources in one place. I am working with the GFMA and other market managers to build best practices so that others can learn from our victories, luck, and mistakes.
8. Is there anything I haven't asked that you'd like to mention? The Mulberry Market is really thrilled to be a part of the GFMA. Without partnerships and collaborations, we would all be doing a lot of the same work, and this endeavor allows us to gather our strengths all together for the greater good, which is our communities.